The session on Virtualization was split in two parts. The program manager gave a very lively presentation with the main highlights of present and upcoming virtualization technologies my Microsoft. The presenter after him went into all the gory details of the new hypervisor technology. This was mainly a monotonous summing up of points.
The session about business architecture was not my cup of tea. The purpose of business architecture only became clear halfway through the presentation on the slide "Why Business Architecture?". The story was entirely technology agnostic and most examples were not even IT-focused.
The case studies presentation was split up in two parts:
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia
The facts and numbers presented at the MySpace.com by its Vice President of Engineering and its Chief Software Architect were just staggering. The growth rates that these guys have to cope with are just staggering: exponential growth with a doubling rate of just a couple of months. They currently have 18 million concurrent users. Their system is mainly build on Microsoft .NET and Windows technology. All wisdom as you know it about building applications starts to break down at that scale. They have learned a lot of those lessons the hard way. Solving new classes of performance problems as they appeared.
Office Business Applications
The session on Office Business Applications just reiterated what we had already heard at a LEAP session in Barneveld. It talked about the Office System as an application platform: both for the client products like Excel, Word and Outlook as well as the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. I recently architected and built a small Office Business Application on top of Excel using VSTO 2005 SE. The developer experience isn't all that great. The Office object model sucks big time when used from managed code. Especially when used from C#. Support for managed code still feels like a clunky after thought with Office 2007. In another project we learned that Excel Services and the Business Data Catalog in MOSS 2007 have some v1 characteristics that make them less than ideal. The OBA presentation did not go into any drawbacks on those products and did not tell us when not to use them.
Visit to the Microsoft Company Store
A highlight of today was a visit to the Microsoft company store. We were allowed to buy up to $120 of software, hardware, books and Microsoft branded merchandise at employee prices. Unfortunately, an Xbox360 fell outside the allowed price range. But being able to buy Microsoft Flight Simulator X Deluxe Edition for just $15 is a pretty sweet deal. I also bought a Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 for $50 as my current Logitech webcam isn't supported under Windows Vista.
Walking around the campus
During the lunch break Edward, RJ, Frits and I walked around part of the Microsoft campus. There was still snow lying around.
A bit of excitement occurred when a helicopter landed on a field nearby. We went there to take a look. I took some pictures but was soon ordered by a security guard to delete those pictures. Apparently you are not allowed to take pictures of "medical emergencies" on Microsoft property if you are not a Microsoft employee. That no victim or emergency was in sight was irrelevant.
We had dinner at the New Castle Golf Club which lies on a hill. From the terrace on this hill we had a nice view on the skyline of Seattle.